Friday, December 30, 2011

Find that success in 2012

Cathy Caprino has some sage advice to those slogging through 2011 and looking for success in 2012.

Intensive Focus

Focus more intently on the top two or three areas that I most want to expand most this year.

Something from Nothing
In challenging times, all around us we see despair, confusion and a lack of hope and energy.  It’s contagious.  We also see businesses drying up before our eyes.  It’s scary indeed.  But success comes from being your own source of positive energy, from finding a way to internally generate your own authentic enthusiasm, energy, and excitement about what you do, even when outside forces are pushing against you.
Several years ago, my son came home after school and told me that his teacher asked the students this year to “be the change you want to see” (Gandhi’s beautiful invitation to the world).  There’s such a keen nugget of truth in that for all of us.  If we want success, joy, meaning and purpose to come to us, we must first be that — embody and live the principles and experiences of the success and fulfillment before they’ve been manifested.  That is how doors open to new success.  Energy attracts like energy.

Undying Commitment
The key is to commit yourself without doubt, without reservation, to do what’s required, yet to be flexible and not overly attach to what “success” has to look like.  Realize that you have vulnerabilities and gaps in knowledge, ability and vision, and continually work to fill them.  Believe in yourself, get the outside help you need as soon as you need it to keep growing and learning. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Creating unique value

Joan Magretta channels Michael Porter

So as I worked on this book, I kept a list of those insights. Here it is.
  1. Competitive advantage is not about beating rivals; it's about creating unique value for customers. If you have a competitive advantage, it will show up on your P&L.
  2. No strategy is meaningful unless it makes clear what the organization will not do. Making trade-offs is the linchpin that makes competitive advantage possible and sustainable.
  3. There is no honor in size or growth if those are profit-less. Competition is about profits, not market share.
  4. Don't overestimate or underestimate the importance of good execution. It's unlikely to be a source of a sustainable advantage, but without it even the most brilliant strategy will fail to produce superior performance.
  5. Good strategies depend on many choices, not one, and on the connections among them. A core competence alone will rarely produce a sustainable competitive advantage.
  6. Flexibility in the face of uncertainty may sound like a good idea, but it means that your organization will never stand for anything or become good at anything. Too much change can be just as disastrous for strategy as too little.
  7. Committing to a strategy does not require heroic predictions about the future. Making that commitment actually improves your ability to innovate and to adapt to turbulence.
  8. Vying to be the best is an intuitive but self-destructive approach to competition.
  9. A distinctive value proposition is essential for strategy. But strategy is more than marketing. If your value proposition doesn't require a specifically tailored value chain to deliver it, it will have no strategic relevance.
  10. Don't feel you have to "delight" every possible customer out there. The sign of a good strategy is that it deliberately makes some customers unhappy.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Change is certain so rather than trying to avoid it perhaps our time would be better spent increasing our capacity to deal with it.

Seth explains

Is there really any other kind?
If we see turbulence coming, we tend to avoid it. The art is in knowing that turbulence might come and looking forward to it, bracing for it and embracing it at the same time.
If your plan will only succeed if there is no turbulence at any time, it's probably not a very good plan (either that or you're not going anywhere interesting.)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas hospitality

Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. Washington Irving

Christmas day is for opening our hearts, our gifts and our posterity to those who are in need, whether in spirit or in the necessities of life.
May every day be Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 00 plus 11

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

A visit from St Nicholasby Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

The longest night has ended in a glorious sunrise over the icy cold waters of Lake Michigan. The conquest of light over the gathering darkness is complete. The days will grow longer now, building to the crescendo of Summer. The earth has completed another journey around the sun. Life is reborn, we start anew this day, this Winter Solstice.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Follow Through

Seth tackles the follow through.

Slamming your six iron into the ground, yelling at yourself, cursing out your staff, second-guessing, berating bystanders—there are plenty of ways we demonstrate our frustration that our best didn't work this time.

But is it helpful?
Learning from a failure is critical. Connecting effort with failure at an emotional level is crippling. After all, we've already agreed you did your best.

Early in our careers, we're encouraged to avoid failure, and one way we do that is by building up a set of emotions around failure, emotions we try to avoid, and emotions that we associate with the effort of people who fail. It turns out that this is precisely the opposite of the approach of people who end up succeeding.
If you believe that righteous effort leads to the shame of personal failure, you'll seek to avoid righteous effort.

Successful people analytically figure out what didn't work and redefine what their best work will be in the future. And then they get back to work.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time Travel

Scientists have discovered the neutrinos travel faster than light. Travel faster than light is a prerequisite of time travel. Ergo it is possible at some time in the future that time travel will be commonplace.

Forget all that, if you want to time travel visit a restaurant, deli or some other place where sights, sounds and smells remind you of a time long ago. This aspect connection is lost on most people who operate these venues. To them it is another day in the salt mine. To  the customer it is the creation or the reliving of a treasured memory.

Go back in time today and enjoy.

Fill in the blank

Seth offers a simple fill in the blank;

"I was pleased that I got what I paid for, that the food was properly cooked, that they honored their contract, that the roller coaster worked, that there was no trash on the ground and that the staff looked me in the eye. But what really blew me away was _____"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Non - TV section

We need a section in restaurants that is free from the noise of TV's. We did it with smoke, let's remove TV's from restaurants now. Who is with me?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Th elephant in the economy

To ameliorate pain, feel it. What you resist you will persist

Brett Arends lays out the case for national defaults

It’s tempting to say, “if someone borrows money, they should repay it.” Generally speaking, I agree. I pay all my debts. But while that makes sense when applied to any individual, it doesn’t work so well when it’s applied to everyone. 

We have tens of millions who cannot repay their debts. But they are all trying to. That sucks huge amounts of money out of the economy. And that means these people cannot function properly as consumers or workers. That’s the reason people aren’t coming into your restaurant. It’s the reason people aren’t taking your yoga class. It’s the reason they haven’t hired you to redo the kitchen.

And so tens or hundreds of millions of perfectly responsible business owners and employees are also suffering from this slump. That’s the reason we have a shortage of demand. That’s the reason no one is hiring. 

Even worse: People who are underwater on their mortgage, but who do not want to default, cannot move to where the jobs are either. They are stuck with their home.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Missed Opportunity

It is 10:55am. Outside your door which officially opens at 11:00am are an elderly women and her daughter. They have frequented your cafe before, you recognize their face. The sun and the humidity are beating down on them. They knock on your door.

A) do you show them your wrist watch and point at the time?

B) Walk over and tell them that you can not let them in because it is 5 minutes until the time you open

C)  Walk over, let them in and tell them that they can stay inside where it is cool, however you will not be able to serve them.

D)  Serve them!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Aspirational v reality

Dave Logan has a great insight into struggle

Connecting these two worlds is not actually that hard (more on that in a moment), but these worlds require such different skills and thinking that often people are good at inhabiting one but not the other. In fact, people usually think their preferred world is better.  Most visionary leaders, masters of the aspirational realm, can’t think about a profit-and-loss statement.  Scientists, engineers, and accountants-people who live in the world of reality-think most visions, values, and mission statements are a complete waste of time.

Before I explain how you create this kind of bridge, it’s important to grasp the difference between the aspirational world and the ‘real’ one. ” In the aspirational world, the more you give things away, the more you have.  The lingua franca of this world are ideas and emotions–hope, pride, esteem. Candidate Obama has masterfully dealt in the aspirational world, creating and growing the aspirations of hope and change.

The other world is “reality,” and it is composed of finite resources that cannot be manufactured, like oil, gold, money and time.  Give away some of your time, or money, and you have less time or money.  Perhaps someday, technology will be able to make these things, but for now, there’s only so much of them.  When they’re gone, they’re gone.


Getting back to Obama, he can follow these three steps by first rebooting his hope and change engine.  It’ll be harder this time, because people feel let down.  But even with a small glimmer of optimism, he can then focus us all on real-world accomplishments that are measureable.  The truth is that jobs, money, innovation, and wealth sit on the border between aspirations and reality, not unlike microchips and buildings at USC.  Focus purely on reality, and they look unmovable.  Look just at aspirations and people get excited and then crushed. The aspirations-reality-aspirations cycle described in this blog post can produce jobs, income, and wealth on a level our country has never seen.

Toward more specialized skills and greater interdependence

Nicholas Carr has an interesting prospective here 

Skills are gained through effort.
Automation relieves effort.
There's always a tradeoff, but because the relief comes immediately whereas the loss of skills manifests itself slowly, we rarely question the pursuit of ever greater degrees of automation.

Taken further specialization of labor does lead to individuals or nation states for that matter being totally interdependent on everyone else for survival. Is that not the goal though? How do we balance the control we cede to machines to the advantage of having less drudgery in our work or lives?

Summer lease has all to short a date.

“Every man makes his own summer. The season has no character of its own
adventures are what make a summer.” Robertson Davies

How did this happen. Only a moment ago we were enjoying the Memorial Day parade and feeling excited about the start of Summer. Now the leaves are already beginning their annual colorful dance, youth's are opening schoolbooks and hopefully their minds and footballs spiral across late summer skies. 

It would be very good to remember that adventure is what makes summer and never lose that sense of wonder.


Success in any endeavor requires engagement and relationships with others. One of the primary factors which helps those interactions is Likeability.

Martin Zwilling highlights a new book by Michele Tills Lederman
  1. Be your authentic self. Don’t try to be someone that you are not. Other people quickly see through this façade, and lose respect. Find the good in difficult situations or personalities. Work on improving the real you, rather than building a better façade.
  2. You have to like yourself first. Don’t expect others to like you if you have a bad self-image. Practice positive self-talk using genuine accomplishments to pave the way for authentic productivity and success. Absorb the new approach and make it real.
  3. Perception is reality. How you perceive others is your reality about them, and the same is true for them of you. It is far easier to make a good first impression than to change a bad one. Likability is leaving people with positive perceptions.
  4. Exude energy in all your actions. What you give off is what you get back, and your own output can energize other people or deflate them. Channel your authentic energy to be genuine and likable, even when faced with difficulties and challenges.
  5. Curiosity never killed a conversation. Showing genuine curiosity about a person’s job, life, interests, opinions, or needs is the best way to start a conversation, keep it going, and make you likable. Check for matching needs for help rather than demanding help.
  6. Practice listening to understand. If you want others to understand and like you, you have to understand them by truly listening to what they are communicating. Don’t forget that good listening is done with you eyes and other body language, as well as your ears.
  7. Show people how you are like them. Look for common interests and backgrounds, shared experiences and beliefs, to find similarities that can help you build connections with other people. People like people who are like them.
  8. Create positive mood memories for other people. People are more apt to remember how you made them feel than what you said. It’s hard to be likeable when you intimidate people, practice insensitivity, or otherwise make them feel uncomfortable.
  9. Stay in touch and remember connections. Showing genuine curiosity about a person’s job, life, interests, opinions, or needs is the best way to start a conversation, keep it going, and make you likable. Stay in someone’s mind to make them comfortable.
  10. Give something without expecting a return. There are countless ways to give freely to others, including making introductions, sharing resources, doing favors, and giving advice. What goes around comes around.
  11. Have patience, don’t expect benefits from every contact. Likeable people don’t demand value from every interaction. Stay open to the possibility that results may take time, and come in ways not obvious today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Congress should pass a U S History test before being sworn into office

It is very clear that the many current members of the Senate and House of Representatives have no knowledge of United States history. Even a cursory read of history clearly places blame for the Great Depression on the inability of government to create jobs from 1929 - 1933. Further reads clearly link job creation with stability and growth in the mid thirties and place the recession of 1937 at the feet of a Congress looking for austerity in budget.

How about effective immediately every member of Congress and the Executive Branch must pass a United States history test before assuming the duties of their office?

Take it apart and put it back together differently

Seth's post on the leap offers some timeless wisdom that I have often ignored at my peril.

Every now and then, a creative act comes out of nowhere, a giant leap, a new way of thinking apparently woven out of a brand new material.
Most of the the time, though, creativity is the act of reassembling many elements that are already known. That's why domain knowledge is so critical.

It's not enough to be aware of the domain you're working in, you need to understand it. Noticing things and being curious about how they work is the single most common trait I see in creative people. Once you can break the components down, you can put them back together into something brand new.

More times than I can recall I set out to reinvent the proverbial wheel without considering all the elements and there interconnection.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lesser might become Greatest

I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.
James Joyce

The Lesser Depression is starting to morph into the Greatest Depression. The gridlock in D.C., the selloff in the equity markets worldwide this past week, the continuing train wreck in housing and the human toll of this economic malise.

All of this has implications for your business. You have re-engineered your business model, you have engaged your customers, you provide an unmatched experience and that has gotten you here. What is the next step?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lesser Depression is still a depression

Somewhere along the way the Great Recession became the Lesser Depression. No one asked for my help on these naming conventions.This seems relentless. Asset classes are repricing downward, input prices are rising and you are not able to pass the increases to your customers. Paul Krugman offers this which nicely summarizes the last five years:

But the upshot is terrible: more and more, this really does look like the Lesser Depression, a prolonged era of disastrous economic performance.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stop the texting madness

I am told that I will stare at my phone at any provocation. However, no one has ever said that I have kept a client or customer waiting while I update my Twitter feed, Facebook page or send a text. There is an epidemic of texting and phone updating madness. You can no longer go to restaurant, retail store, heck even a place of worship without servers, workers, even managers and clergy checking their phones and sharing their thoughts with the world.

We have been able to stop workplace smoke, now we need to stop workplace texting and phone checking.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

12:16 CDST - Summer

Take out the beach wear, put your feet in the sand, it is officially Summer. There are only two seasons in life really. Summer and not Summer. Enjoy Summer!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Social media pushback

Business owners as a rule tend to be a shoot from hip, wear their emotions on their sleeve bunch. Social media has the capability of taking simple vents or rants and destroying your brand or business overnight.

Tweeting is not like sounding off to your friends in a bar. It feels that way, however your drunken stupor rants will be interpreted  quite differently by the instant access of the web.

Business owners must maintain their professional persona's 24/7 in every communication channel.


Monday, June 6, 2011

How to insure greater accountability from individuals

Kimberly Weisul explains a reframing of the question

But the researchers did find one very effective way to promote honest behavior: Simply ask filers to sign the statement of ethics at the beginning of the form-before it’s been filled out-rather than the end. As the researchers write:
“…simply moving the signature line from the end to the beginning of a form will bring one’s moral standards into focus, right before it is most needed… When signing at the end of a form, the “damage” has already been done; by the time individuals have filled out the form, they have already engaged in various mental tricks and justifications that allow them to maintain a positive self-image despite having cheated.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Trends Trends Trends

MSNBC has a collection of trends

Urban foraging

Now that some city slickers have figured out how to raise chickens at home, urbanites are taking aim at another farm favorite: pick-your-own produce. New tools are making it easier to harvest wild, indigenous edibles that sprout up anywhere from city parks to sidewalk cracks. Neighborhood Fruit, a GPS-enabled app, forages for the nearest trees growing on public lands across the country (for iPhone, $1),

Night markets

Long a fixture in East Asia, the night market has finally hit our shores. Pairing the breezy, open-air setting of a greenmarket with an under-the-radar, after-dark vibe, these nocturnal gatherings attract experimental cooks and eaters who are up for adventure.

Single-item restaurants

Death to the 100-item menu! Today's hyper-focused chefs are devoting their kitchens to turning out a single signature dish, albeit in countless customizable variations. 

Bicycle cafés

Forget granola bars and trail mix. A sophisticated new breed of hybrid repair shop cafés is popping up to cater to the two-wheeled foodie set
Rent-a-tree, get the products of a tree

Why am I paying you?

I have a serious grip with real estate brokers whose only solution is to lower the price. I do not need no fricking real estate broker if the price they offer to sell the house at is the same price as a bank foreclosed property is selling for. What do brokers not get? If you bring no value to the transaction, why should I pay you a commission. When real estate was booming brokers did very little but bring a buyer to a property. Now, that real estate has collapsed they believe that the same level of service is sufficient to earn a commission. It is not, I hire a broker to add value to the transaction in the form of a higher selling price. I am sick and tired of reading articles about how brokers are happy that sellers finally get it. Guess what it is the brokers who do not not get it. If they can not sell a property for more than I can sell the property for, they have done nothing to earn a commission.

Many other businesses have the same mentality, they do not understand that to survive in this environment, they need to add value to the customer's life, is your business adding value or are you just collecting a revenue stream?

The recession was over two years ago however the depression rages unabated

There has to be a special place in hell for economists. After the worst economic meltdown in 80 years we are to believe that the "recession" ended two years ago. Housing prices, the single largest investment for individuals have dropped more during this five year period than they did during the "Great Depression", real wages have dropped, people who have lost their jobs and been lucky enough to replace them have done so at lower wage levels. Confidence has been lost in the system and there is no end in sight. At some point some economist will say that this was in fact a depression.

Against this backdrop it is very difficult for individuals to commit discretionary dollars to fun. Yet fun is what is needed most. Yes we might not have any money tomorrow however "it is better to live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a lamb". Rage, rage against the dying of the light. As hard as it is to believe if your savings are being drawn down every month, there is opportunity. Businesses that have adjusted and are providing value for the service or product are in fact prospering. The massive amounts of liquidity in the system will at some point be deployed and finance another boom. Boy it sure feels like hell though. "When you are going through hell, just keep on going, you might get out before the devil knows you are there."


Thursday, June 2, 2011

First customer picks you.

The oft told story of social proof is that a person walks up to building with empty restaurants on both sides. That person picks restaurant A, A second person walks up and sees one person in restaurant A and no one in restaurant B. that person chooses A, and so on. Restaurant A is a major success, Restaurant B must re-concept the space because it has fails on a massive scale.

There is a also the dynamic that social networks be definition build much the same way. People who would never have joined on their own are forced to join because everyone else is in the network. Individuals are very uncomfortable when they are not part of a common whole.

The business lesson is that the key is to create a social network that individuals wish to be a part of in your business.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One item per day menu

It is clearly a niche and perhaps it works best as a vegetarian concept however it works. Today is Saturday, this is what is on the menu, small, medium or large, the large has a beverage, enjoy!

No end in sight.

Hugh Macleod's tweet has a lot of resonance, everyone feels that this has gone on too long and there is no end in sight

"The current recession. I used to think it was temporary. I no longer do."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Substantial Pent up demand

Heck Ya!

Bruce Blythe explains

The addition of about 2 million jobs over the past couple years, combined with rising personal incomes, bodes well for the fresh produce industry and other food providers, according to Riehle, who spoke during the association’s annual trade show in Chicago.
“There’s a very strong correlation between restaurant sales and real personal incomes,” Riehle said. “It’s definitely shaping up to be the best year of the past four” in terms of restaurant sales, he said.
“There is substantial pent-up demand for restaurants.”

Friday, May 20, 2011

The allure of Judgment Day

There has been a lot of internet chatter about the date May 21, 2011. The real benefit of this prediction and why it has garnered so much attention is that it has slowed people down and made them think. How do I want to spend the last days?

Take a moment from the hustle and bustle of everyday and consider the possibility. There is a lot of sadness and emptiness around. The possibility of a reboot does not frighten people, it actually is a welcome respite. How often have you wanted to stop the world so you could get off? 

The math is fuzzy however the chance for a do over, a "mulligan" is why this Judgment Day has taken on such a life of it's own and is very alluring.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Work in spurts

Tony Schwatrz explains spending and renewing energy

Professionals live today in a world of relentless demand. To meet their obligations, their default instinct - including mine, if the pressure gets high enough - is simply to push harder.
The problem is human beings aren’t meant to operate the way computers do: at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. To the contrary, people perform best when they pulse rhythmically between spending and renewing energy - not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

Unfortunately, rest and renewal get no respect in the organizational world. Most managers view the need for downtime as weakness.  The problem is that when their employees work without pause, they very quickly get decreasing incremental returns on each hour invested.
Just as I did, you stop thinking as clearly, creatively, and strategically, and you take more time to get less accomplished.

Though you may not realize it, you’re physiologically designed to operate in cycles of approximately 90 minutes, during which you move from higher to lower alertness.  These phases are called “ultradian rhythms.”

The counterintuitive secret to great, sustainable performance is to live like a sprinter. In practice, that means working with the high intensity, uninterrupted, for periods no longer than 90 minutes, and then taking a break to renew and refuel.

the pay what you want model

Jim Slater provides a report card on Panera's experiment

Not everyone is so generous, but that's OK with Brooke Porter, who manages the restaurant. She knows that times are still hard for many. She has seen families down on their luck come in to celebrate birthdays with a meal they normally couldn't afford. A teacher laid off after 25 years stops by on his way to job fairs. He can't afford to pay much but makes up for it by volunteering at the store.
"If a man in a suit and tie leaves a dollar for a $10 meal, that's fine," Porter said. "We don't know his story."

Only a few take advantage of the system - "lunch on Uncle Ron" as Shaich calls it. He still fumes over watching three college kids pay $3 for $40 worth of food. Generally, peer pressure prevents that sort of behavior, he said.
"It's like parking in a handicapped spot," Shaich said.

Overall, the cafe performs at about 80 percent of retail and brings in revenue of about $100,000 a month. That's enough to generate $3,000 to $4,000 a month above costs, money being used for a job training program for at-risk youths.
"We took some kids that typically wouldn't be employable, didn't know how to work in society," Shaich said. "We gave them a combination of job training and life skills." The first three graduates of the program are starting jobs at other Panera restaurants.
Shaich admitted he didn't know how the pay-what-you-want experiment would pan out. He said the success should send a message to other businesses to put faith in humanity.
"The lesson here is most people are fundamentally good," Shaich said. "People step up and they do the right thing."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Context is the key to implementing any strategy

Credit card fraud is rampant so clearly retail establishments need to initiate processes that help to curb the process. However, do not let processes create a situation where you are generating customer resentment rather than customer advocacy. Everything is in context. If the credit card signature does not match the card exactly do not ask for a ID. A proper response would have been, "your signature does not match the card, do you have an ID?"   Provide a reason for the inconvenience or better yet consider the context of the transaction and let it go!

The business process in this case questioned a legitimate transaction and has now lost me permanently as a customer. So if the aim was to prevent fraud, it failed brilliantly. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Being prepared is the best insurance

Jeff Haden's offers a lesson on how to succeed in uncertain situations

  1. Build the basic skill. If being asked a question during a meeting instantly makes you anxious, your problem isn’t a fear of public speaking.  Your problem is you don’t know what to say — so you freeze.  Start by never walking into a meeting unprepared.  You know the meeting agenda, so always prepare for possible discussions.  Then think about two or three ways you can constructively contribute, take the plunge, and jump in.  When you’re prepared and confident about what you want to say the act of speaking is be a lot easier.  If it helps, write down what you want to say, and practice.  Then make it a point to contribute at every meeting.  In time speaking up will get easier.
  2. Rework the basic skill. But don’t stop there.  Ask to lead a meeting.  Ask to present an idea.  Ask people if they have questions about a project or task.  Go to a Toastmasters meeting and speak.  Step outside your comfort zone; see comfort as a base to build on, never as an end result.
  3. Practice for “What if?” Once you build decent speaking skills, the next step is to eliminate unexpected reasons that could cause you to choke.  What if your PowerPoint presentation locks up?  Figure out what you’ll do.  What if you get questions you can’t answer?  Think about how you will respond.  What if your 45-minute presentation is suddenly cut to 10 minutes?  Think about how you’ll shorten it to ensure your main points are delivered.  Then…
  4. Visualize. You may never be faced with a power outage during a presentation, much less practice an outage, but you can think about what you would do.  And you can imagine someone tries to hijack your meeting, and mentally prepare how you’ll respond.  And as you visualize…
  5. Create a mental solution pegboard. What will you do if you present an idea and it bombs?  What will you do if an employee challenges you in front of others?  What happens if you forget your place during a presentation?  Stick the answers in a mental solution bag and reach for the solution when the no-longer-unexpected happens.  While everyone will assume you thought quickly on your feet, you’ll know preparation was the key.
  6. Benefit from close calls. If an employee almost touches on a sensitive subject, especially one you aren’t ready to address during a group meeting, don’t just walk away thinking, “Wow, am I glad I didn’t have to deal with that.”  What would you have done?  What would the best response have been?  Think through your options, mentally rehearse, and create a new solution bag for your peg board.  If something almost happens this time… guaranteed it will happen someday.  Be ready.

Isolation is not sustainable policy

The other side to Seth's argument is Dave's call to not attempt battle in isolation,

The first step is to recognize that the path to defeating fear does not lie with figuring out a perfectly safe answer. There is no guaranteed path. A common failing of solo business owners is to over-think their situations, hoping to work out a solution that guarantees single-stroke success. This approach virtually guarantees defeat. You cannot conquer fear with logic and reason, and you cannot win the battle in isolation.

The first habit to develop: reaching out. Business pioneers throughout history have one thing in common: they did not climb the ladder to success by themselves. Do you have someone you can call at any time when you are feeling doubtful and resigned about the success of your business? If not, finding that person (or people) needs to become a top priority. Take a look through the list of contacts in your cell phone. Who has a positive attitude and a resilient spirit?

Effrot without reward

Seth questions your motivation

There's an entire system organized around the idea that we're too weak to deliver effort without external rewards and punishment. If you only grow on demand, you're selling yourself short. If you're only as good as your current boss/trainer/sergeant, you've given over the most important thing you have to someone else.

The thing I care the most about: what do you do when no one is looking, what do you make when it's not an immediate part of your job... how many push ups do you do, just because you can?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What has luck got to do with it?

Adam Dachis has an interesting post about luck

[Wiseman] gave both the "lucky" and the "unlucky" people a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. He found that on average the unlucky people took two minutes to count all the photographs, whereas the lucky ones determined the number in a few seconds.
How could the "lucky" people do this? Because they found a message on the second page that read, "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." So why didn't the unlucky people see it? Because they were so intent on counting all the photographs that they missed the message.
So what does this mean? From the article:
"Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for."
People who we often consider lucky are more relaxed and open to what's going on around them. They're not focused on a single task, blocking out everything else so much that they miss something important and unexpected. What this experiment demonstrates is that luck may not so much be luck, but whether or not our mindset leaves us open to opportunities we would otherwise miss because we're so absolutely sure of what we want.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Go big or go home

Steve is confident that slow and steady does not win the race.

I’ve always been more of a “go big or go home” kind of guy.

Well, for better or worse, the real world isn’t like that. It’s chaotic, competitive, and full of people. All of which are, by nature, unpredictable. 
But it did happen. And because it happened, things didn’t work out as planned. I had to do things differently. I had to retool. Well, the business world is very much like that. And the longer you’re in it, the more you realize that success is defined by how well you’re prepared for bumps in the road and how fast you react to the breakneck rate of change.

But that’s so you’re ready to take a hairpin turn, sprint ahead, or even slam on the breaks when life throws big obstacles in your path or the you-know-what hits the fan

Look, there are most definitely times when it’s important to just put one foot in front of the other and execute. But that’s not what will define your career, create breakthrough products, or take a company to the top of its market. That’s not what defines a winner. And that’s why, in your career and in the business world, “slow and steady” does not win the race.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Raise your luck quotient

Jessica Stillman explains,

Maximize Chance Opportunities Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.

Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches. Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune. Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.

Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good. Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

You might be thinking that Wiseman’s principles are all well and good, but that people’s ability to adopt them is basically a function of their personality and difficult to change. If you’re a worrywart by nature, for instance, can you really teach yourself not to dwell on bad fortune? Can control freaks learn to break their routines and embrace chance encounters?

Yes, says Wiseman in an article for Skeptical Inquirer (download the long, fascinating read here). In it he described operating “luck school” that actually had an impact on increasing participants’ good fortune:

I explained how lucky people… create good fortune in their lives, and described simple techniques designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person. For example… without realizing it, lucky people tend to use various techniques to create chance opportunities that surround them, how to break daily routines, and also how to deal more effectively with bad luck by imagining how things could have been worse. I asked my volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises and then return and describe what had happened. The results were dramatic. 80 percent of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives, and, perhaps most important of all, luckier.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Life is a game of inches


The transition between the breakfast and lunch shifts or the lunch and dinner shifts is always difficult. I would go as far as advising just to close down. The hand off is never smooth and the customer service always suffers.

If you are going to stay open during the transition than make sure that there is no downgrade in the service.

The need to sleep.

No one really knows why we need to sleep or how we wake up, however the when we miss sleep the results are startling. Tony Schwartz explains

So why is sleep one of the first things we're willing to sacrifice as the demands in our lives keep rising? We continue to live by a remarkably durable myth: sleeping one hour less will give us one more hour of productivity. In reality, the research suggests that even small amounts of sleep deprivation take a significant toll on our health, our mood, our cognitive capacity and our productivity.
Many of the effects we suffer are invisible. Insufficient sleep, for example, deeply impairs our ability to consolidate and stabilize learning that occurs during the waking day. In other words, it wreaks havoc on our memory.
What I've learned about those days is that I'd rather work at 100 percent for 5 or 6 hours, than at 60 percent for 8 or 9 hours.
With sufficient sleep, I feel better, I work with more focus, and I manage my emotions better, which is good for everyone around me. I dislike having even a single day where I haven't gotten enough sleep, because the impact is immediate and unavoidable. On the rare days that I don't get enough, I try hard to get at least a 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon. That's a big help.

Here are three other tips to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep:
  • Go to bed earlier — and at a set time. Sounds obvious right? The problem is there's no alternative. You're already waking up at the latest possible time you think is acceptable. If you don't ritualize a specific bedtime, you'll end up finding ways to stay up later, just the way you do now.
  • Start winding down at least 45 minutes before you turn out the light. You won't fall asleep if you're all wound up from answering email, or doing other work. Create a ritual around drinking a cup of herbal tea, or listening to music that helps you relax, or reading a dull book.
  • Write down what's on your mind — especially unfinished to-do's and unresolved issues — just before you go to bed. If you leave items in your working memory, they'll make it harder to fall asleep, and you'll end up ruminating about them if you should wake up during the night.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Height and prosocial behavior

Linking height, escalators, views from airplanes or satellites help individuals be more cooperative

David Schroeder explains

Overall these studies show remarkable consistency, linking height and different prosocial behaviors -- i.e., donations, volunteering, compassion, and cooperation. While we may be inclined to think that our behaviors are the product of comprehensive thought processes, carefully weighing the pros and cons of alternatives, these results clearly show that this is not always the case.

Friday, March 25, 2011

NFC coming to restaurant near you.

If it is on the iphone your business will have to accept  in a big hurry.

Mathew Shaer explains,

NFC – the acronym stands for near field technology – allows users to "swipe" their smartphones, as they do with credit cards or subway passes. (The Nexus S smartphone is already equipped with NFC tech.) An example: You could use your smartphone to pay for groceries at the supermarket; the NFC unit in the phone would interface with a receiver at the store, and your bank account would be charged automatically. 

Fun! (And a little scary.) Over at Forbes, Elizabeth Woyke says manufacturers are "gearing up for the additional NFC traffic the iPhone 5 will bring."

"From what I hear, it is possible the iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information," Woyke writes. "To further bolster his statement, the entrepreneur said that manufacturers of NFC readers – whom he has been talking to for his own product – also expect the iPhone 5 to have NFC."

How are you marketing Earth Hour

The opportunity to help the planet and your brand are rarely woven into one. Earth Hour is a convergence of all things good.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ring the bell for first timers

At the neighborhood breakfast diner they ring the bell to alert everyone in the place that we have newbies among us. People who walked into the diner for the first time are made to feel welcome. Sure it's a gimmick, it's fun and it creates some excitement. People who visit often are called by name which is the sweetest sound to any customer.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Signs of Spring

On March 20 at 6:23:21pm (-5 GMT) the Vernal Equinox will usher Spring into Chicago. There are signs everywhere you look however that the season of rebirth is upon us. The neighborhood DQ has taken the boards off their windows and will reopen for the season. The slender tulip shoots have begun to rise from the frozen ground where they have laid hidden under the snowy blanket of winter.

Happy Spring!

Comfort with uncertainty

Tim explains why comfort with uncertainty is the key 

I’m thinking that the single most important trait of the true entrepreneur is establishing a good healthy long-term relationship with uncertainty. As an entrepreneur, you don’t know for sure, but you act. You program, you contract, you create, you hire, you borrow, you spend, and you act, all like the explorer setting forth into unknown territory. 

Planning helps. Research helps. But you have to be able to live with the educated guess.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Somewhere in the universe

Somewhere in the universe the image of a bright shining face full of awe and wonder is crossing the flatwater for the first time. Somewhere the image is streaming through the vastness of time and space. Somewhere the promise of the new dawn lies waiting to be lived.

Such is the magic of the moment.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Along with grit you need serendipity

Steve Tobak outlines the qualities of Accidental Success,

5 Characteristics That Enable Accidental Success
  1. Being opportunistic. That means taking advantage of opportunities as they arise, including a willingness to act boldly and decisively and to take risks without overanalyzing possible outcomes. Successful invention requires a lot trial and error. That’s the mindset of an entrepreneur.
  2. Ability to network, schmooze, persuade. Not social networking, but old school networking. In fact, the actual definition of schmooze is “to converse informally, to chat, or to chat in a friendly and persuasive manner especially so as to gain favor, business, or connections.” That’s what opens doors.
  3. Having a can-do attitude. You can be presented with all the opportunities in the world, but if you’re a negatron - always seeing the glass half empty, the fly in the ointment, why it can’t or shouldn’t be done - you’ll never capitalize on any of it. You’ll be the guy who’s always saying, “I almost [fill in the blank]; I don’t know what went wrong.”
  4. Being genuine and open. Some people think BSers and those who sugarcoat the truth or tell people what they want to hear get ahead. Now that’s BS. Smart, successful people are attracted to those who are genuine and open about their feelings. Being genuine entices others to open up and share their thoughts and feelings.
  5. Being inquisitive or searching for answers, how things work, a place in the world. This characteristic is difficult to explain or quantify, but I think it comes down to a genuine need to figure things out, understand how things work, or do something important. It drives certain people and, one thing’s for sure: we don’t stop until we find what we’re looking for.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It is all about grit

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." Calvin Coolidge

Jonah Lehrer  explains the results of a study,

those with grit are more single-minded about their goals – they tend to get obsessed with certain activities – and also more likely to persist in the face of struggle and failure. Woody Allen famously declared that “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. Grit is what allows you show up again and again. Here are the scientists:

Our major findings in this investigation are as follows: Deliberate practice—operationally defined in the current investigation as the solitary study of word spellings and origins—was a better predictor of National Spelling Bee performance than either being quizzed by others or engaging in leisure reading. With each year of additional preparation, spellers devoted an increasing proportion of their preparation time to deliberate practice, despite rating the experience of such activities as more effortful and less enjoyable than the alternative preparation activities. Grittier spellers engaged in deliberate practice more so than their less gritty counterparts, and hours of deliberate practice fully mediated the prospective association between grit and spelling performance.

What color is your luggage?

Jon Gordon asks an interesting question,
why so many travelers buy a black bag.
After all, they have a choice. Go to any luggage store and you’ll see green bags, red bags, yellow bags, blue bags and even pink bags and yet most choose black.
They have an opportunity to buy a color that stands out and yet they don’t. They conform. So when it comes time to find their bag it’s not easy to distinguish their bag from others.
It’s the same way in business and life. We have a choice. We can stand out in traffic or we can choose to conform and be like everyone else.

If you don’t stand out and simply conform, when customers are given a choice they won’t be able to differentiate you from the competition. You’ll be like a black bag in a pile of black bags.

People and organizations and brands that stand out in traffic are the ones that thrive. They are easy to find and everyone knows there’s something different about them.

Does your business stand out?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How is everything so far?

How about asking how I am enjoying the dish in front of me? A table visit is an opportunity to connect with me. "How is everything so far" is just as bad as "how is everything"?

Maximize the table visit and ask me how I am enjoying my steak?

Pi Day

One of my favorite spring flings is Pi Day (3.14), however any excuse to eat pie will suffice.

Happy Pi Day

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mismatch between quality of food and design of room.

There really is no easy way to correct this because someone thinks their design is brilliant. The food is great but the design of the room is horrible.

People design matters.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The moment before

Michelangelo's iconic painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel captures the moment before. Life, business and the universe are all about doing the right things consistently until the moment before everything changes.  

James Altucher posts about the moment before,

The moment before their famous walk across Abbey Road, Paul had to adjust something on Ringo’s collar. At that moment they were human. In the famous walk, which we’ve seen everywhere, they aren’t human anymore. They’ve become gods.

The outcomes are all uncertain. Life hasn’t changed just yet. You can be anxious for the outcome. Or you can relish the moment, knowing the preparation is in place. You’ve done all you can. Good things will happen.

You can say, “live life as if its your last moment before you die.” But there’s also, “live life as if it’s the last moment before you really come alive.”
Now you have to wait. If you did the right preparation, the moment will come. If you did the preparation with passion, with inspiration, with aspiration. Now you wait. Every day we have the potential for godhood, to be something that breaks us out of that fate. That careens us onto a path God had not intended for us.
Imagine you are Paul Mcartney right this second. You’re adjusting Ringo’s collar on his tuxedo. The noon sun is hot and bright and you’re uncomfortable in the clothes but every wrinkle has to be just right. You’re about to cross the street to make the famous photo for Abbey Road.  And for the last time in your life, you are 100% human.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Get what you want

Ivana Taylor explains,

Getting what you want is really just a function of three things:

1.  Being clear about who your audience is and what’s important to them.

2.  Taking the time to analyze the situation, design a solution, and craft a creative and visual presentation of your idea.

3.  Making it easy for your audience to say yes to your idea and take action.

Let’s go through the outline minute by minute.

:30 - 1:00 minute  

What’s happening? This is the first statement of the presentation – but it will probably be the last thing you actually write.  Starting your presentation with an authentic statement about what’s happening will get everyone on the same page.  After you make your “What’s Happening” statement, the little voice inside your audience’s head should say something like “WHAT?  How can you say that?”  Your “What’s Happening” statement should be no more than two or three sentences.

1:00 – 3:00 minute  

How did we get here? In this section of the outline, you get to prove your point.  This is the section where you place all your data, charts, and graphs. Don’t overwhelm your audience with numbers and tables.  Make the title of each graph what you want your audience to be left with. Instead of “2011 Sales By Region” use “Southern Region Exceeds Sales Goals." Your audience will thank you because they won’t have to analyze the data themselves and you can move on with your presentation.

3:00 – 5:00 minutes   

What will we do? At this stage, the little voice inside your audience’s head is begging for solutions.  Now you have them where you want them.  They are eager to hear your ideas.  Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.  Take the time to present your idea in a tangible, visible way.  Use props or demonstrations to engage your audience and get them living into the future of your idea in action.

5:00 – 6:00 minutes   

What’s the payoff? You have a great idea, but why is it good for your audience? That’s what they will want to know and you get to tell them.  Be clear and descriptive about the benefits.  Use lots of adjectives to describe how wonderful the future will be with your solution in place.

6:00 – 7:00 minutes   

How do we get started? By the time you get to this stage of the outline, your audience will be excited and ready to do something.  Tell your audience what you want them to do and make it easy for them to take action right away.  If there is something to be signed, make sure that you have the forms, the pens, and anything else that’s required.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Say Thank You for chossing to dine with us at the start of the interaction.

Why wait until the dining experience is concluded. Start with "thank you for choosing to visit us today!", at the start of the interaction with the customer. 

Having the best horse is a start

"I have set my life upon a cast, I will stand the hazard of the die"  Richard III

The movie "Secretariat"  offers a lot of lessons.

1)   Having the best horse is only the start.

2)   You need someone to champion the cause

3)   You need a trainer, coach, whatever to bring out the best in your resource.

4)   Finally you need to be able to risk it all on a single throw of the die 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Time to celebrate

It is time for winter weary residents of Chicago to celebrate. Chicago Restaurant Week

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who needs a waiter

 Rafe Needleman introduces us to the future of ordering lunch or dinner.

Storific turns your iPhone (other platforms in development) into an order-taking waitbot. You step into your restaurant and as you're seated you get a code for your table. You put that into the app, and then you can see the establishment's menu on your phone, pick things you want, and have those orders delivered to the kitchen. You can also ping the system to send over water, a salt shaker, and so on. 

It may appear that this business is about making things better for diners, by making it easier to send orders in. It may also look like it's good for waiters since it makes them more efficient (they can come by to chat up customers and don't have to come back to take an order unless the diner wants that) and thus could improve their tips. But the real benefit of this app is bottom-line financial. It brings impulse buying to restaurant dining. Want another order of fries? Press the button. A second mousse, rapidement? Click.
Storific saves you from having to actually talk to a waiter.
Storific Founder Michael Cohen tells me that, "Curious customers order more. There's nothing to stop them." Since the service launched, he and his customers have learned that keeping the menu always accessible to the customer (on their smartphones) and making it easy to order, simply increases the size of the check.

Here's a prediction: At some point, somebody's going to roll up these dining apps, and likely make a little money doing so. For ordinary people, it's too much to use Yelp to find a restaurant, Open Table to book it, Taxi Magic to get there, Foursquare or Facebook to tell your friends where you are, and then Storific to order food. Some of these apps are already linked (Yelp with OpenTable), but there's more room here for integration. Siri, which Apple acquired, is the beginning of this, but there's more opportunity here, for a start-up, or for one of the giant data aggregators like Google.

Monday, February 14, 2011

You have a phone call at the hostess stand.

The statement "you have a phone call at the hostess stand" was heard quite frequently in restaurants not to long ago. The fact was emphasized when I was watching a movie the other evening where a restaurant diner was directed to the hostess stand because he had a call.

The world has changed in a very short time. No one calls the restaurant to see if so and so is there. They text, call on cell phone or check location based services to determine where the individual is.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Utilize opportunities when the calendar presents them

This Valentines Day is a restaurateur's dream. The day falls on a Monday, so restaurants will likely see a spike on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Be ready. Staff heavy.

There is nothing so disheartening as a restaurant that fails to take advantage of a calendar gift

Friday, February 11, 2011

Discipline to Cut Losses

The one thing that large organizations do better than quick nimble entrepreneurs is they cut losses in a discipline fashion. When a unit has not made it's numbers for (X) consecutive quarters, then the unit is shuttered, period. The metric is (X), the action is closure, end it, cut the loss.

Individuals on the other hand consider sunk costs. Sunk costs is what you have invested in the project already, be it financial or emotional. Those sunk costs cloud your decision making process. "I have too much invested in this now to give up", is the mantra that leads to success occasionally, however in most cases it leads to further loss.

There is a time to reap and a time to sow. There is also a time to cut the loss.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Continuing lesson from the blizzard - Deal with it.

It snowed again in Chicago on Sunday and Monday. 3 inches on Sunday and 2 inches on Monday. After dealing with the blizzard last week these two relatively minor snowfalls represented the "straw the broke the camels back,"  to the winter weary residents of this sleepy little hamlet.

Guess what? The weather does not care that residents of this Midwestern city are weary and the marketplace does not care that you are weary! If you are opened for business you had better bring your "A+" game to every interaction with a customer. The customer has a need that they believe you can resolve. Do not disappoint because they do not care about your weariness.

Continuing lesson from the blizzard - Comparative Advantage

There is a concept in economics that each entity be it individual, business or nation needs to maximize it's comparative advantage. Example, if you run a restaurant than it is probably a good idea to hire a plumber to handle water and waste issues at your establishment rather than spend the amount of time required to master the skill necessary to fix it yourself. Your skill or comparative advantage after all is running a restaurant.

The concept also applies to snow shoveling. Would it be best to hire out the process or do it yourself. Here is where the problem lies and it is a simple cost analysis. You need the walkway in front of your business shoveled now, however the organization that you have hired is not available now because they are of course swamped with other clients. Do you A) offer them more money to come to your establishment first or B) do the work yourself? Most business choose to do the this work themselves because they view the cost associated with waiting or incurring more expenses as an avoidable negative.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The definition of a customer

Seth offers this,

But what if you define "best customer" as the person who brings you new customers through frequent referrals, and who sticks with you through thick and thin? That customer, I think, is worth far more than what she might pay you in any one transaction. In fact, if you think of that customer as your best marketer instead, it might change everything.

Nuturing the root

Jon Gordon offers this,

How about you? Do you focus on the numbers, the outcomes and the fruit?
Or do you focus on the purpose, people, innovation, culture and root of your success.
Always remember the amount of fruit we produce is just an outcome and measurement of how well we are nurturing our root.

If we take care of our root we’ll always have an abundant supply of fruit.
Ignore the root and say goodbye to the fruit.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Goal Setting 101

Forget 5 year plans. Forget 1 year plans. Start with 1 month plans, or 1 week plans or 1 day plans. Start accomplishing something today. Momentum will build on it's own

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lessons from the Blizzard


TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More)

Help your neighbor.
Work together.
Break the task in smaller sections.
Breakthrough and isolated the work that needs to be done.


TEAM (Together Everyone Annoys Me)

Plow your neighbors in.
Kick customers out of your lot because they are going to a neighboring store.
Be unfriendly, grumpy and down right nasty.
Frown, scream and shake your head repeatedly.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzards and prognostications

Happy Groundhog Day. The groundhog in Chicago will definitely not see their shadow at first light today. An early spring perhaps? About six months ago we talked about how weather forecasters had gotten a beautiful string of summer weather wrong. Today they got it right. There is a full blown white-out blizzard outside. You have to love Chicago in the winter.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Different color coffee cups

When a person orders decaf coffee, he or she does not want to keep explaining the decision to everyone who comes around to refill the cup. How about using a different color cup or some other distinguishing feature, so that I do not have to explain that I want decaf?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vegan Pizza Day

There are four days to Groundhog Day so that would be reason enough to celebrate, however Vegan Pizza Day takes happiness to a new level.

We want to celebrate and spread the word about vegan pizza by eating lots of it and encouraging others to as well. Let's show the rest of the world what we've known for a long time...that vegan pizza is amazing and can be enjoyed by everyone.
We have so many great options today for vegan pizza and it's time to share this. Let's convince people through fresh veggies, tasty mock meats and melty vegan cheese that dairy & meat free pizzas can be the best. 
I am in!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mindset creates reality

Jeffrey Pfeffer shares Chip Conley's wisdom about mindsets

I asked why he thought it was so hard for people to do things like networking that didn’t seem difficult and were clear paths to power. Conley said that for most people, networking, building social relationships with strangers at, for instance, events and functions, was seen as a task. That mindset held true for many of the other actions required to build power–they were tasks. Tasks, he said, are things like taking out the garbage. You don’t try to develop your “skill” at taking out the garbage, you don’t think much about it, you just do it and get it over with.
However, if you think of networking as a skill, then that mindset changes everything. Skills are things that can, and maybe even should, be developed. You think about how well you are performing skills, you work on getting better, you get feedback, you apply thought, you learn.

The implication of Conley’s insight: the difference between people who build effective networks and those that don’t, the difference between people who develop political skill and grow that skill over time and those that don’t, has much less to do with intelligence or charisma or charm and everything to do with how people see and define what they are doing–as skills or as tasks.


So here’s some practical advice: the next time you find yourself at some meeting or event, the next time you get what you think is a boring, trivial assignment, consider how your mindset affects your approach. Chip Conley is right–there is a big difference in what we do and what we learn depending on whether we define some activity as a task or a skill. As a consequence, our ability to build power and influence derives as much from how we think about our activities as from our abilities.

Friday, January 21, 2011

One cookie.

There are many interactions that a customer might remember when visiting your restaurant however the last one carries the most weight if it goes wrong. The meal was perfect, the ambiance was delightful, the service was good and then they bring dessert.

They bring out a smallish tray of cookies. Actually one cookie for each individual at the table.
What does your guest remember? The puny cookie of course.

End with a flourish, always!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wallet in the smartphone

This story from the Dow Jones wire,

Starbucks Corp. will allow customers at U.S. company-operated stores to use some smartphones to pay for their purchases in an effort to drive sales.
Customers with Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry or Apple Inc.’s iPhone or iPod touch will be able to pay using a Starbuck card mobile app at nearly 6,800 company-operated stores and 1,000 Starbucks in U.S. Target Corp. locations.
The introduction builds on test programs that included Seattle, Northern California and New York. The company said its Starbucks card platform saw growth of 21% last year, partly driven by its rewards program.
Starbucks in November reported that fiscal fourth-quarter profit surged 86 percent as worldwide same-store sales rebounded for the fourth consecutive quarter, with the coffee giant reporting balanced growth in the U.S. and abroad.
The future has arrived, your business needs to assimilate ...
resistance is futile

Monday, January 17, 2011

Midnight ride

Wray Herbert explains the "Midnight ride" concept and how it impacts the story you are telling.

With the country on the verge of civil war in 1860, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a patriotic poem about Paul Revere, a little-known Massachusetts silversmith and minor hero of the Revolutionary War. “Paul Revere’s Ride” played fast and loose with the facts of the now famous 1775 events, but the narrative had the psychological effect the author intended. It got Americans wondering how history might have turned out differently without that heroic act—and how the country might never have come to exist. By focusing on the nation’s precarious origins, the poem bolstered nationalism at a time when it was sorely needed.
“What if” thinking is always a bit tricky. Too much focus on “what might have been” can mire us in regret and feelings of powerlessness or keep us from savoring our good fortune. But is it possible that a bit of such thinking might save us from complacency about our circumstances? Some scientists are beginning to think that imagining an alternative reality might have ironic and tonic effects. Indeed, it might be a practical tool for strengthening commitment to country, workplace and relationships.